Rhys Wilson from Happiness Forgets in London will be heading to Tokyo with 14 other national winners from around the world for the global final of the Chivas Masters competition.
From July 1 to 5, the bartenders will take part in a number of individual and team challenges where they will need to showcase both exemplary bartending skills and team spirit to impress the judges.
Now in its fourth year, the 2017 Chivas Masters global final will focus for the first time on the celebrated traditions of Tokyo’s bartending scene and its unique cocktail customs that continue to fascinate and inspire bartenders across the world.
The 15 finalists, who have each excelled in their national competitions running across four continents, will be hosted in Tokyo by Masahiro Urushido, the first Chivas Masters global champion.
They will be mentored by a distinguished panel of internationally known judges, who will share their expertise through a series of inspirational masterclasses. The panel includes bartender Iain Griffiths, co-founder of Mr Lyan which operates bars including Dandelyan at the Mondrian London hotel.
Joining him will be another leading bartender Dré Masso, ex-director of bars for the Potato Head Group in Bali, Jakarta, Singapore and Hong Kong.
The panel will also feature Micah Melton, beverage director at the Alinea Group which operates Aviary in Chicago and New York City, bartender Chris Lowder, formerly at Four Seasons Hotel in Seoul and at The NoMad Hotel and Amor y Amargo in New York City, and Rogerio Igarashi Vaz, owner of Tokyo’s Tram & Trench.
Max Warner, global brand ambassador for Chivas Regal whisky, said: “Our 15 national winners have already hugely impressed us with both their skill and character, but there’s still much more to do if they want to be crowned our 2017 Chivas Masters global champion.
“The values of community, collaboration and generosity lie at the very heart of this competition, and successful participants must not only impress a world-renowned panel of judges, but demonstrate that they embody these values every step of the way.”
The Chivas Masters cocktail competition is built on the belief that great bartending is measured not only by the achievements of an individual but by the ability to work in harmony with others. The ultimate winner will not only impress with their individual bartending skills, but – crucially – will also prove their ability to work collaboratively with an international bartending team, and inspire others to achieve shared success, through the Chivas Masters Collective team challenge.
Rhys, who started out as an actor and previously worked at Callooh Callay in London, said: “A great bar is not just about what’s in the glass – it’s about the whole show. I love taking care of my audience and putting on a great show for them.”
The 2017 Chivas Masters global champion will be announced on the evening of Wednesday July 5. He or she will win an all-access, all-expenses-paid trip to the 2017 Tales of the Cocktail festival in New Orleans in July.
The winning Chivas Masters Collective team will walk away with the pinnacle of the range, Chivas Regal The Icon, presented in a bespoke decanter with customised Japanese glassware.
Max added: “I cannot wait to put our contestants through their paces in Tokyo and see who will walk away with the 2017 title – and beyond that, watch as they, together with their Chivas Masters Collective, take what they have learned to further develop and inspire their bartending communities back home.”
Full list of 2017 Chivas Masters global finalists
Sandra Šalatová (Czech Republic)
Ryan Nightingale (Hong Kong)
Atsushi Suzuki (China)
Masato Sakurai (Japan)
Benjamin Boyce (United Arab Emirates)
Hyacinthe Lescoët (France)
Wouter Bosch (The Netherlands)
Adam Schmidt (USA)
Rhys Wilson (United Kingdom)
Aloisek Rodríguez Martínez (Cuba)
Abner Barrientos (Puerto Rico)
Patryk Biadacz (Poland)
Daniel Huggins (Germany)
Roger Grüter (Switzerland)
Haydée Barron Flores (Mexico)